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Water Loop Construction Intensifies In Coming Days

UPDATE April 5, 2010 -- This major construction project is providing the campus with a much-needed, updated hot water loop. The project will cause disruptions in foot traffic and parking and will create plenty of noise.

This week, TLC Plumbing crews expect to finish digging the first section of the main trench from Fitch Hall to Brown Hall. As the water main is installed, a second crew will begin backfilling the trench as the first crew extends work north towards Weir Hall. Another crew has begun cutting into basement walls and floors in Zone 1, including Brown Hall, the Tech gym, the boiler plant behind Fitch Hall and Driscoll Hall, in preparation for linking these buildings to the new loop and adding new water meters. No buildings will be connected to the new system for several weeks.

The electrical contractor is also at work in Area 1 and will begin digging around MSEC this week April 5 to 8.

Construction crews work four 10-hour days: 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday; however, crews may work nights and weekends during crucial times of the project.

UPDATE March 25, 2010 – Construction crews will intensify their work in the next two weeks, which means more noise and more foot traffic disruptions.

University administrators have decided to move commencement from the main quad to the lawn north of Macey Center. Most work around Macey has been postponed until after May 15. 

Plumbing work currently is confined to Area 1, which is the eastern part of campus. Electrical contractors are also working in Area 1 (Fitch, Driscoll, Wells, Brown and the gym), but will also start work at MSEC.

Plumbing crews have begun digging the main trench at Fitch Hall and will accelerate trenching over the next week as they dig northward toward Brown Hall and Wells Hall. Construction foremen expect to continue digging and laying pipe in the first section through the end of March. Around Monday, April 5, plumbers will finish the first section of Area 1 and commence trenching in the northern half of Area 1, which extends from Brown and Wells to Weir Hall and the Library. On Tuesday, March 23, plumbers cut an unmarked water line, causing a brief campus-wide water outage. Service was restored, but crews will need to repair that line, requiring a planned water outage next week. The campus community will be notified via email prior to this planned outage.

In addition to digging, another plumbing crew will be cutting into the basement floors of buildings in Area 1, which includes all buildings in the eastern half of campus except residence halls. The first round of “core drilling” will be Wednesday and Thursday, April 1 and 2. Employees can expect plenty of noise in the following buildings: Fitch, Wells, Brown, Cramer and Weir Halls, the gym and the library. Most work in dorms will commence after commencement on May 15.

Electrical crews are spotting lines this week at MSEC, then dig postholes around MSEC during the week of March 29 to April 2. Beginning April 5, electrical crews will begin digging around MSEC. They are connecting ¾-inch conduits in order to install new electrical meters, which will be added to all campus buildings.

Those who use MSEC and Jones Annex can expect construction noise and fenced-off areas. In some areas, foot traffic will be confined to the sidewalks.

Tech’s Emergency Response Coordinator and ISD are planning to install emergency telephones on campus. They are coordinating with electrical crews to provide power to selected locations.

March 23 Update -- Construction crews have begun digging the main trench for the new hot water loop. The trench begins at Fitch Hall and extends toward Weir Hall. The first segment of work will last 7 to 10 days and will extend to Wells and Brown Hall.

Students and employees can expect constrution noise and disruptions in foot traffic in the southeast quadrant of campus. Around April 1, crews will begin the second segment of Area 1, which will extend from Wells and Brown toward Weir Hall.

March 15 Update -- Due to potential dangers from digging in wet weather, the onset of trenching has been pushed back a day or two.

SOCORRO, N.M. March 10, 2010 – Construction crews will be making plenty of noise next week. TLC Plumbing will begin digging trenches near Fitch Hall at 7 a.m. Monday, March 15. Digging is likely to proceed through Thursday, March 18.

Another crew will also begin cutting into basement walls and floors in Zone 1, including Brown Hall, the Tech gym, the boiler plant behind Fitch Hall and Driscoll Hall. This work is in preparation for linking these buildings to the new loop.

Gates have been erected to cordon off the area of the first section of trench. The main trench will be about 10 feet wide and 7 feet deep in the first section and 4 feet deep in most parts of campus. Once the new pipes are installed, the trench will be extended from Brown Hall to Cramer Hall. Dirt from the new section of trench will be used to backfill the first section. Work will continue on the main trench before the buildings in the first section are connected.

The Tech website will have regular updates on traffic and utility disruptions throughout the project.

The work will be conducted in phases to minimize disruptions in utility services.

  • Area 1 includes Fitch Hall, Driscoll Hall, Wells Hall, Brown Hall, Tech Gym and Cramer Hall, scheduled from February to June.
  • Area 2 includes Skeen Library, Weir Hall, MSEC, Speare Hall and ISD, scheduled from April to July.
  • Area 3 includes Jones Annex, Fidel Center and Workman, scheduled from June to September.
  • Area 4 includes the Gold Building and the PRRC, scheduled from August to October.
  • Area 5 includes Macey Center and Jones Hall, scheduled for October.
  • Area 6 includes West Hall, Presidents Hall and the SAC, scheduled for October to November.

The hot water loop provides both heat and hot water to all campus buildings. The system is outdated and has suffered many breakdowns in recent years. In 2009, the state legislature approved funding to replace the entire system.

TLC Plumbing and Heating of Albuquerque was awarded the contract in mid-December 2009 with a bid of $4.3 million.

– NMT –

By Thomas Guengerich/New Mexico Tech